Priyanka arrives with a basket of gifts
By Razia Sultan
KARACHI: Priyanka Ghandi, her husband Robin and her brother Rahul flew into Karachi on Friday for the first One Day International between India and Pakistan. Whisked out of the airport by security their first, and one is given to understand that, other than the match today, their only, port of call was the Bilquees Edhi Child Welfare Centre. Apparently Ms Ghandi is a big fan of Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife Bilquees and had, perhaps unusually for a young person, said that the only thing she really wanted to do aside from watching the cricket was to meet with the Edhis. She arrived with a basket of gifts made by a group of disadvantaged women with whom she works in a village in Uttar Pradesh. She said they had made these themselves especially for the children in the Edhi centre.
Ms Ghandi was shown around the centre, spoke to the children, listened to what they had to say, commended them on their work and encouraged them to make something of themselves. She exhibited the rare quality of attentiveness and a genuine interest in everything around her. The visitors were then treated to a dance recital and tableau by the children at the centre.
Rahul Ghandi stayed out of the spotlight giving his sister centre stage. He said he had not been drawn in to the political arena yet though the pressure was definitely there. This was his second visit to Pakistan, though he said unfortunately the first had also been for a day. The good thing is whether it is a day or more it is a significant visit at this point and can only help in furthering the peace process.
Just before leaving for the State Guest House, where they will be staying, Priyanka spoke briefly to the press. She said she was happy to be in Pakistan and that there was “no agenda, I am just here to watch the match”. As for her contesting in the upcoming elections she just smiled though one was given to understand that she has not yet filed her papers. She said she was confident that the Congress party would win the general election and a well wisher from Delhi commented that given the reception she was given in Karachi, if the people of Karachi could vote for Congress they would definitely romp home with a huge majority. Priyanka Ghandi certainly has tremendous charisma and is clearly a political animal, at the same time exhibited a huge amount of grace and charm an unbeatable combination of her grandmother, Indira Ghandi and Princess Diana.